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stead of those of king Henry, which, they said, were grievous and oppressive'. All these petitions were rejected in the most haughty and peremptory manner.

The legate, who had probably never been sincere in his compliance with Matilda's government, availed himself of the ill humour excited by this imperious conduct, and secretly instigated the Londoners to a revolt. A conspiracy was entered into to seize the person of the empress; and she saved herself from the danger by a precipitate retreat. She fled to Oxford: soon after she went to Winchester; whither the legate, desirous to save appearances, and watching the opportunity to ruin her cause, had retired. But having assembled all his retainers, he openly joined his force to that of the Londoners, and to Stephen's mercenary troops, who had not yet evacuated the kingdom; and he besieged Matilda in Winchester. The princess, being hard pressed by famine, made her escape; but in the flight, earl Robert, her brother, fell into the hands of the enemy. This nobleman, though a subject, was as much the life and soul of his own party, as Stephen was of the other; and the Stephen reempress, sensible of his merit and importance, consented The civil war


to exchange the prisoners on equal terms.
was again kindled with greater fury than ever.

Earl Robert, finding the successes on both sides nearly balanced, went over to Normandy, which, during Stephen's captivity, had submitted to the earl of Anjou; and he persuaded Geoffrey to allow his eldest son, Henry, a young prince of great hopes, to take a journey into England, and appear at the head of his partisans. This expedient, however, produced nothing decisive. Stephen took Oxford after a long siege: he was defeated by earl Robert at Wilton: and the empress, though of a masculine spirit, yet being harassed with a variety of good and bad fortune, and alarmed with continual dangers to her person and family, at last retired into Normandy, whither she had sent her son some time before. The Continuadeath of her brother, which happened nearly about the civil wars. Contin. Flor. Wigorn. p. 677. Gervase, p. 1355.


tion of the




same time, would have proved fatal to her interests, had not some incidents occurred which checked the course of Stephen's prosperity. This prince, finding that the castles built by the noblemen of his own party encouraged the spirit of independence, and were little less dangerous than those which remained in the hands of the enemy, endeavoured to extort from them a surrender of those fortresses; and he alienated the affections of many of them by this equitable demand. The artillery also of the church, which his brother had brought over to his side, had, after some interval, joined the other party. Eugenius the third had mounted the papal throne; the bishop of Winchester was deprived of the legantine commission, which was conferred on Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, the enemy and rival of the former legate. That pontiff also, having summoned a general council at Rheims in Champagne, instead of allowing the church of England, as had been usual, to elect its own deputies, nominated five English bishops to represent that church, and required their attendance in the council. Stephen, who, notwithstanding his present difficulties, was jealous of the rights of his crown, refused them permission to attend*; and the pope, sensible of his advantage in contending with a prince who reigned by a disputed title, took revenge by 1147. laying all Stephen's party under an interdict'. The discontents of the royalists at being thrown into this situa tion, were augmented by a comparison with Matilda's party, who enjoyed all the benefits of the sacred ordinances; and Stephen was at last obliged, by making proper submissions to the see of Rome, to remove the reproach from his party".

The weakness of both sides, rather than any decrease of mutual animosity, having produced a tacit cessation of arms in England, many of the nobility, Roger de Moubray, William de Warrenne, and others, finding no opportunity to exert their military ardour at home, enlisted themselves in a new crusade, which, with surprising suc1 Chron. W. Thorn. p. 1807.



K Epist. St. Thom. p. 225.

m Epist. St. Thom. p. 226.
















cess, after former disappointments and misfortunes, was now preached by St. Barnard". But an event soon after happened which threatened a revival of hostilities in England. Prince Henry, who had reached his sixteenth year, was desirous of receiving the honour of knighthood; a ceremony which every gentleman in that age passed through before he was admitted to the use of arms, and which was even deemed requisite for the greatest princes. He intended to receive his admission from his great-uncle, David, king of Scotland; and for that purpose he passed through England with a great retinue, and was attended by the most considerable of his partisans. He remained some time with the king of Scotland; made incursions into England; and by his dexterity and vigour in all manly exercises, by his valour in war, and his prudent conduct in every occurrence, he roused the hopes of his party, and gave symptoms of those great qualities which he afterwards displayed when he mounted the throne of England. Soon after his return to Normandy, he was, by Matilda's consent, invested in that duchy; and upon the death of his father Geoffrey, which happened in the subsequent year, he took possession both of Anjou and Maine, and concluded a marriage which brought him a great accession of power, and rendered him extremely formidable to his rival. Eleanor, the daughter and heir of William, duke of Guienne, and earl of Poictou, had been married sixteen years to Lewis the seventh, king of France, and had attended him in a crusade which that monarch conducted against the infidels: but having there lost the affections of her husband, and even fallen under some suspicion of gallantry with a handsome Saracen; Lewis, more delicate than politic, procured a divorce from her, and restored her those rich provinces which by her marriage she had annexed to the crown of France. Young Henry, neither discouraged by the inequality of years, nor by the reports of Eleanor's gallantries, made successful courtship to that princess, and espousing her six weeks Hagulstadt, p. 275, 276.






Henry, informed of these dispositions in the people, made an invasion on England: having gained some advantage over Stephen at Malmsbury, and having taken that place, he proceeded thence to throw succours into Wallingford, which the king had advanced with a superior army to besiege. A decisive action was every day expected; when the great men of both sides, terrified at the prospect of farther bloodshed and confusion, interposed with their good offices, and set on foot a negotiation between the rival princes. The death of Eustace, during the course of the treaty, facilitated its conclusion: an accommodation was settled, by which it was agreed, that Stephen should possess the crown during his lifetime, that justice should be administered in his name, even in the provinces which had submitted to Henry, and that this latter prince should, on Stephen's demise, succeed to the kingdom, and William, Stephen's son, to Boulogne and his patrimonial estate. After all the barons had sworn to the observance of this treaty, and done homage to Henry, as to the heir of the crown, that prince evacuated the kingdom; and the death of Stephen, which happened next year, after a short illness, prevented all those quarrels October 25. and jealousies which were likely to have ensued in so deli

cate a situation.

mise be

Comprotween the king and prince Henry.

after her divorce, got possession of all her dominions as her dowry. The lustre which he received from this acquisition, and the prospect of his rising fortune, had such an effect in England, that when Stephen, desirous to ensure the crown to his son Eustace, required the archbishop of Canterbury to anoint that prince as his successor, the primate refused compliance, and made his escape beyond sea, to avoid the violence and resentment of Stephen.

Death of the king.


England suffered great miseries during the reign of this prince: but his personal character, allowing for the temerity and injustice of his usurpation, appears not liable to any great exception; and he seems to have been well qualified, had he succeeded by a just title, to have pro

moted the happiness and prosperity of his subjects. He 1154. was possessed of industry, activity, and courage, to a great degree; though not endowed with a sound judgment, he was not deficient in abilities; he had the talent of gaining men's affections; and notwithstanding his precarious situation, he never indulged himself in the exercise of any cruelty or revenge". His advancement to the throne procured him neither tranquillity nor happiness; and though the situation of England prevented the neighbouring states from taking any durable advantage of her confusions, her intestine disorders were to the last degree ruinous and destructive. The court of Rome was also permitted, during those civil wars, to make farther advances in her usurpations; and appeals to the pope which had always been strictly prohibited by the English laws, became now common in every ecclesiastical controversy. P M. Paris, p. 51. Hagul. p. 312.

⚫ W. Malms. P. 180.
4 H. Hunting. p. 395.

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